Tag Archives: Rosie Jackson

Simple magic for dark times

“We happy few” enjoyed a high-quality set from Tom Sastry last night. I’m hoping he will come again so that those suffering in the current flu epidemic (get well soon!) or with prior engagements will have a chance to hear him. He’s delightful, he’s approachable, and his work is just as engaging live as on the page. Tom’s first poem provides this post’s title (and, for me at least, a gospel or guidebook for the present time). You can find it, under a different title, here.

In the second half we had poems from Ewan, Jinny, Caroline, Wendy, Jo, Ama, and a bonus track from Tom.

Our next meeting will be at the same place (Just Ales, Market Street) and time (7.45 for 8) on Monday 3rd April, when the guest poet will be the wonderful Rosie Jackson.

You are part of every poem that you read except when the poem excludes you. Sometimes the poem is so polished and so beautiful it won’t let you in. It wants you to admire it.
– Beau Beausoleil

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Candle and snow

snow-candle

Our meeting at Just Ales last night featured the sequence “Second Skin”, poems focusing on clothing, written and performed by Jo Waterworth, Rachael Clyne, Sara Butler, Mo Kiziewicz, Jinny Fisher and Ama Bolton. Andy’s excellent mulled Wilkins cider and Rachael’s generous provision of teacake biscuits cheered us in body and spirit. In the interval many of us bought Wendy’s lovely wildlife cards, printed from her own watercolours and sold in aid of wildlife charities.

After the interval we heard topical poems from Ewan and Paul, and Andrew read Swim-lanes, a long poem resulting from an interesting interdisciplinary collaborative project.

Andrew has sent me a link to his recent collaboration “The Art of Memory” with David Caddy at Hauser and Wirth, and a link to Jinny’s collaboration with Amanda Barnes, performed in Bath, the fourth event in what was a groundbreaking collaborative poetry initiative across South West England.

Caroline made us laugh with a poem about losing her keys. We’ve all done it! Wendy gave us a hymn of praise to the Christmas Pudding and a beautiful new poem resulting from her attempt to write about clothes, or a lack of them: Eve’s thoughts about life after Eden.

Ewa read two recent poems in both her languages – first a short and touching piece about an old perfume-bottle, and secondly a longer poem about an unusual form of communication: banging on the pipes – we’ve all heard of it but few have done it.

It was a pleasure to welcome Rosie Jackson back after a long absence. My title is taken from one of the poems she read from her recently published collection “The Light Box” from Cultured Llama. Rosie will be our guest poet at the April meeting next year. Her writing is well-crafted and often deeply moving.

Here are all the dates, until the summer break, for your diary. You can read about the poets here.

Jan 2    Once again at Just Ales  (BA5 2DS) 7.45 for 8pm start. The featured poets on this occasion will be … any published poet you care to bring along! We have a tradition of using the January meeting to share some published poems we particularly admire. If you prefer to read your own work, that is fine too. At this meeting there will be no charge.

Feb 6   Linda Saunders

Mar 6  Tom Sastry

April 3 Rosie Jackson

May 1  Claire Coleman

June 5  Gram Joel Davies

July 3  Annie Fisher

You might like to have a look at this light-hearted poem, which I mentioned at the meeting: 100 Differences Between Poetry and Prose.

Finally … a photo from our October meeting, our first time at Just Ales, when Jane was our featured poet.

jane-at-just-ales

Photo courtesy of Morag Kiziewicz.

Maybe all poetry, insofar as it moves us and connects, is a revealing of something that the writer doesn’t actually want to say but desperately needs to communicate, to be delivered of.  Perhaps it’s the need to keep it hidden that makes it poetic – makes it poetry.  The writer daren’t actually put it into words, so it leaks out obliquely, smuggled through analogies…we’re actually saying something we desperately need to share.  The real mystery is this strange need.  Why can’t we just hide it and shut up? Why do we have to blab? Why do human beings need to confess? Maybe if you don’t have that secret confession, you don’t have a poem – don’t even have a story.

Ted Hughes interviewed for the Paris Review (Spring 1995)

 

 

Long time no sea

After a summer break we met again on 5 September at the Sherston Inn. We began with a reading by Clare Diprose from her pamphlet “Thinking of You”. It was lovely to hear the poems together and to get a sense of this Bridport Prize runner-up’s style – assured, economical, observant, with an instinct for the right word and a way of catching you off-guard with a haunting phrase.

thinking-of-you

We heard poems from Ewa, Ewan, Wendy, Jo, Caroline, Morag, Rachael, Jinny, David and Ama. Paul sent in a poem which was read by Ama. This post’s title is taken from Ewa’s poem about a visit to Burnham-on-Sea.

Rachael’s “Tradition” has been published in the latest issue of The Rialto, and she has been short-listed in this year’s Poetry Space competition.

Ama has a poem “Hartlake” in the new issue of Obsessed with Pipework.

Morag has a poem forthcoming in Tears in the Fence.

Jo will be reading at Tea and Chi in Glastonbury on 23 September.

Wendy will be one of the poets at Twenty Poets Perform in Bristol Central Library on 1 October as part of the Bristol Poetry Festival 2016. This is a really enjoyable event for all concerned, and entrance is free. Full festival details should be on the Poetry Can website pretty soon.

Finally, Rachael, Sara, Morag, Jinny, Jo and Ama will be giving a third performance of this year’s collaboration Second Skin at the Tears in the Fence festival fundraiser weekend at Stourpaine in Dorset this coming Saturday, 17th September –  details here. Andrew will also be reading at this event.

Latest news, hot off the press: Jo, Jinny and Rachael have all had poems accepted for the Broadsheet, which publishes once a year for SW poets. The launch is part of Exeter Poetry Festival in October.

The next meeting will be on Monday 3 October in Just Ales Micropub in Market Street (behind the bus station), 7.45 for 8pm. Real ale and local cider on tap, as well as coffee! There will be a Featured Poet and a charge of £2 which will be saved up until we have enough to pay a Guest Poet.

Other news: Poetry readings at Wells Litfest include Lemn Sisssay on 18 October. If you don’t know about him, do listen to his Desert Island Discs on the radio 4 i-player. He’s phenomenal! See the website for details.

Toppings bookshop in Bath have a programme of readings, including Carrie Etter and Claire Crowther on 1 October, Katherine Towers on 3 October, Rosie Jackson on 7 November, Alice Oswald in the nearby St Swithin’s Church on 15 November and Ruth Sharman on 16 November.

Yeovil Litfest 20-23 October.

It isn’t necessary to know where a poem is going in order to begin to write.  Writing can let you find out what you think.
– Roy Marshall

If you know exactly what you are going to say about a subject before you begin your poem, it is probably better to say that thing in prose.
– Sue Boyle

The clock is ticking

Fog and illness made for a smaller-than-usual group of poets last evening at the Sherston Inn, with Jo in the chair, sharing poems on and off the theme of “Clocks”. Nevertheless we welcomed two new listeners who we hope will come again. There were some memorable contributions. Neil was inspired by a cold to write two clever pastiches – (“O nose thou art thick …”), Ewan left his comfort-zone and explored the wilder shores of haiku, Jo read two wonderfully witty poems on the clock topic, Mark performed a villanelle from which this post’s title is taken, and a topical poem about the extra hour in bed. Clare too contributed a short and sweet poem on the changing of the clocks, read in her absence by Ama.

Paul never knowingly writes on-topic; from him we had one poem in praise of his poetic collaborator (a muse that mews) and one about the Severn Bridge, both in his distinctive style. We have learned to expect to be disturbed by Jinny’s work. She did not disappoint. Wendy read two poignant and well-crafted poems – one of them a prize-winning sonnet – on the theme of time. Pamela delighted us with a handful of tiny poems. From Richard we had two fine sonnets, from Rachael a pair of short, skilfully-written poems, and from Ama “Time Travel”, her Bridport 3rd-prize-winning poem from 2008, and a very recent pastoral invitation to abandon the use of clocks.

Our next meeting will be on Monday December 7th, when Ewa will be in the chair. The theme she has chosen is “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness” – a proverb that can also be taken literally during the short winter days.

Other news:
Congratulations to Rosie Jackson, who won the Hilly Cansdale prize in the Wells competition.
There is a new poetry open-mic venue in Glastonbury, “Tea and Chi” in Benedict Street at 7pm on the last Thursday of the month.
On November 10th in Bath there will be a free slide-show-illustrated sequence of readings from poems written in 1915 – details below.

Flyer Nov 10

“Upheaval is the new zeitgeist”

“Fifty” was the theme when the Fountain Poets met at the Sherston Inn last Monday with Karin in the chair. Some chose to write about the 1950s – Richard’s memories of growing up in Oxfordshire, Jinny’s scenes from a 50s childhood, Mark’s fond reminiscences of Marilyn Monroe’s 50s films. Ewan wrote about rowing as a schoolboy on the River Severn. Morag read “2015-fifty”. Karin’s poems are densely-packed with layers of meaning and metaphor – quite a challenge to take in at a single hearing! We look forward to seeing them in print. The two she read touched on the experience of turning fifty recently. From Wendy we heard a delicious story-poem about the love of a 50-year-old Romeo and his Juliet.  Ama’s poem was a response to seeing St Kilda from a distance of fifity miles.

The refugee crisis prompted other poems, including Rachael’s “Silent faces keep appearing“, Ewan’s “Places Isaac and Rebecca Knew”, Morag’s “Mull” and Ama’s “The Risk-takers“.

Jo’s poem “Machine to destroy Landays” (forthcoming in Obsessed with Pipework) refers to a subversive form of Afghan folk-poetry practiced mainly by women. To learn more, see this fascinating and heartbreaking essay by Eliza Griswold. Jo’s second poem was a product of her practice of writing a weekly poem with words taken from the current issue of “New Scientist”.

Wendy’s second poem was “I like to walk the Monarch Way”. Wendy will be reading at “Twenty Poets Perform” in the cafe area of Bristol Central Library on the afternoon of Saturday 26th September, an annual (free) event ably organised by Mark as part of the Bristol Poetry Festival.

From Caroline we had memories of a holiday in Cornwall, and a short sharp reaction to muzak. From Pamela, the heartfelt “After they’ve gone”, and by way of contrast, a wry birthday-card rhyme.

Jinny is to be congratulated on having not one but two poems in this year’s Bridport Prize short-list. Her poem in the second half, inspired by a very strange news-item, caused a sharp intake of breath, followed by applause. It was an evening of rich fare.

Another event on the afternoon of 26th September will be the prizegiving and reading of the short-list of the Bath Poetry Cafe Competition. Fountain poets present will be Ama, Rachael, Sara and Zanna. For more information go to Sue Boyle’s blog.

On Tuesday 29th September, Wells Fountain Poets’ collaborative project Waterwoven will be performed in public for the third time, with Andy reading the part previously read by Ewan. This will also be at Bristol Central Library. Rachael Clyne will also have a solo set at this event, which starts at 7.30pm. The Bristol Poetry Festival runs from 21st Sept to 8th Oct.

Swindon Poetry Festival runs from October 1st to 5th. On the evening of 3rd October Ama will be reading her poem “Winter Boat” at the Battered Moons Competition prizegiving and pamphlet-launch. Sharing a platform with Pascale Petit  Cristina Newton and Rosie Jackson! What a privilege! There are some fabulous events on at the festival – have a look at the programme.

On Sunday 11th October at 3.30 in the Bishop’s Palace (a free event) the winner of the Wells Festival of Literature Poetry Competition will be announced, with a reading of the short-listed poems. For the full programme see the Festival website. The short-list can be seen here.

I’d like to welcome and thank all the followers of this blog, many of whom I’ve not yet met, and especially David of Write Out Loud, whom three of us from Wells had the pleasure of meeting at David Caddy‘s excellent workshop in Dorset on Saturday.

Finally … our next meeting will be on Monday 5th October at the Sherston Inn starting promptly at 8pm. Ama will be in the chair and the topic (optional!) will be “Light”, the theme of National Poetry Day which celebrates its 21st birthday on October 8th.

My title this month is taken from something Rachael said on Monday … I made a note of it but I don’t remember now if it was part of a poem.

Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs. The adjective hasn’t been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place. -William Strunk and E.B. White, authors of The Elements of Style

A Day of Good Poetry

… at the Bath Litfest on 7th March.

7 March poster

Six of the Fountain Poets have collaborated in distilling 4629 words of our own poetry down to a half-hour performance script. We shall be spending many hours during the next four weeks rehearsing. True to our name and nature, we will present a flow of words on a watery theme, from the first hint of rain to the vastness of the Atlantic. There will be drought and flood, a birth amid the Glastonbury mud, wild-swimming, danger, a very damp dreamscape, tadpoles, seals, a couple of mermaids and a great many birds.

We’ll take the stage soon after mid-day, and our set will be followed at 12.40 by a short Q&A/discussion with the audience between the Wells and Swindon groups about how they  compiled their sets.

Subversifs from Bath will start the day at 10.30 with their set “Elemental”. Bluegates will follow with “Swindon: the Genius of the Place”. John Richardson will introduce his new pamphlet at 11.40. Another Bath group, Knucklebones, will be on at 2.10 with “Who am I?” This group includes Fountain poet Rosalie Challis. At 2.50 Hannah Teasdale, Jeremy Young and Rosie Jackson will read from their new pamphlets. The Bristol poets will be on at 4.05 with a set entitled “Before”, and at 4.45 there will be a second pamphlet set from Ruth Marden, Rachael Clyne and Sue Boyle. Throughout the day there will be musical contributions from Jon Chambers and Tony Monks. And of course there will be a book-stall!

The evening session will start at 7pm with light refreshments, followed by more music, more poets, including Fountain poet Claire Coleman, and the announcement of the short-list for the Bath Cafe Poetry Competition.

Please come and support us! Bring a packed lunch and stay all day!

“Clear through to the core”

The venue for our September meeting was The King’s Head. Ama was in the chair and our topic was “Friends and Other Strangers”, which produced a wonderful variety of mostly true stories of people we have known – playground bullies, friends both faithful and treacherous, imaginary friends, colleagues, neighbours and strangers observed. My title is taken from Rosalie Challis’s poem “Role-call” which explored the relationship between a portrait-painter and his model.

Wendy Nicholson, our local Beatrix Potter, has produced a new book. It’s beautifully written and illustrated and absurdly cheap at £2, which goes to  Northern Red Squirrels. It would make a lovely present for a child of any age.

Old Land001

This year’s Bradford-on-Avon Poetry Competition has resulted in a set of ten beer-mats featuring the short-listed short poems on the subject of Light. What a great idea! They can be found in pubs in and around Bradford-on-Avon, and the set can be purchased for £5 from the organiser, Dawn Gorman, dawngorman37(at)virginmedia(dot)com.

Rick's beer-mat001Rick's beer-mat002

There is an evening of poetry, including memories of Laurie Lee, on Saturday September 20th at The Red Brick Building in Glastonbury. For details see the RBB website.

On Wednesday October 1st at 7.30pm in the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute in Queen Square, local poets Rosie Jackson and Jeremy Young will be launching their début pamphlets; do go along and support them if you can!

Our next meeting will be at The White Hart Hotel in Sadler Street on Monday 13th October. The room is on the ground floor at the back. It will be in use by another group until 7.30, so if you arrive early please wait in the bar. For those coming from Glastonbury and Street there is parking nearby in the Market Place. If you’re coming from Bristol/Bath/Frome a more convenient parking place is St Andrew Street, alongside Cathedral Green. Walk through the archway onto Sadler Street and the White Hart is directly opposite.

Rachael will be in the chair and has chosen “Nearly” as an optional theme. Off-topic poems are welcome too, of course.

 “Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke